Skip to main content Accessibility help

Asymmetry of the hippocampus and amygdala in MRI volumetric measurements of normal adults

  • OTTO PEDRAZA (a1) (a2), DAWN BOWERS (a1) (a2) and ROBIN GILMORE (a3)


Multiple studies have explored the relationship between MRI-based volumetric measurements of the hippocampus and amygdala, the degree of volumetric asymmetry of these structures, and symptom manifestation. However, considerable variability exists with regard to the reported volumetric values of these structures. The present study employed meta-analytic procedures to provide a systematic analysis of the normal population parameters of hippocampal and amygdala volumetric asymmetry as well as the absolute intrahemispheric volumes of these structures in normal adults. A literature review of studies published between 1990 and 2002 resulted in a representative sample of 82 studies (N = 3,564 participants) providing volumetric information of the hippocampus and 51 studies (N = 2,000 participants) providing volumetric information of the amygdala. Results revealed that both the hippocampus and the amygdala are reliably asymmetrical structures in normal adults, with larger right hippocampal (D = 0.21, p < .001) and right amygdala (D = 0.09, p < .01) volumes. Additional analyses indicated that differences in MRI magnet field strength and slice thickness values might differentially contribute to volumetric asymmetry estimates. These results expand on previous volumetric normative studies and may be relevant to investigators studying the clinical correlates of hippocampal and amygdala volumes. (JINS, 2004, 10, 664–678.)


Corresponding author

Reprint requests to: Otto Pedraza, Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida, Box 100165, Gainesville, FL 32610. E-mail:


Hide All


Allen, J.S., Damasio, H., & Grabowski, T.J. (2002). Normal neuroanatomical variation in the human brain: An MRI-volumetric study. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 118, 341358.
Bigler, E.D., Tate, D.F., Miller, M.J., Rice, S.A., Hessel, C.D., Earl, H.D., Tschanz, J.T., Plassman, B., & Welsh-Bohmer, K.A. (2002). Dementia, asymmetry of temporal lobe structures, and Apolipoprotein E genotype: Relationships to cerebral atrophy and neuropsychological impairment. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 8, 925933.
Bobinski, M., de Leon, M.J., Wegiel, J., Desanti, S., Convit, A., Saint Louis, L.A., Rusinek, H., & Wisniewski, H.M. (2000). The histological validation of post mortem magnetic resonance imaging-determined hippocampal volume in Alzheimer's disease. Neuroscience, 95, 721725.
Bogerts, B., Falkai, B., Schneider, T., & Pfeiffer, U. (1993). The neuropathology of schizophrenia: Past and present. Journal für Hirnforschung, 34, 193205.
Breier, J.I., Leonard, C.M., Bauer, R.M., Roper, S., Lucas, T.H., & Gilmore, R.L. (1996). Quantified volumes of temporal lobe structures in patients with epilepsy. Journal of Neuroimaging, 6, 108114.
Brierley, B., Shaw, P., & David, A.S. (2002). The human amygdala: A systematic review and meta-analysis of volumetric magnetic resonance imaging. Brain Research Reviews, 39, 84105.
Castellanos, F.X., Giedd, J.N., Marsh, W.L., Hamburger, S.D., Vaituzis, A.C., Dickstein, D.P., Sarfatti, S.E., Vauss, Y.C., Snell, J.W., Lange, N., Kaysen, D., Krain, A.L., Ritchie, G.F., Rajapakse, J.C., & Rapoport, J.L. (1996). Quantitative brain magnetic resonance imaging in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Archives of General Psychiatry, 53, 607616.
Cooper, H. & Hedges, L.V. (1994). Potentials and limitations of research synthesis. In H. Cooper & L.V. Hedges (Eds.), Handbook of research synthesis (pp. 521529). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Dickerson, B.C., Goncharova, I., Sullivan, M.P., Forchetti, C., Wilson, R.S., Bennett, D.A., Beckett, L.A., & deToledo-Morrell, L. (2001). MRI-derived entorhinal and hippocampal atrophy in incipient and very mild Alzheimer's disease. Neurobiology of Aging, 22, 747754.
Dunlap, W.P., Cortina, J.M., Vaslow, J.B., & Burke, M.J. (1996). Meta-analysis of experiments with matched groups or repeated measures designs. Psychological Methods, 1, 170177.
Durlak, J.A. & Lipsey, M.W. (1991). A practitioner's guide to meta-analysis. American Journal of Community Psychology, 19, 291332.
Edland, S.D., Xu, Y., Plevak, M., O'Brien, P., Tangalos, E.G., Petersen, R.C., & Jack, C.R., Jr. (2002). Total intracranial volume: Normative values and lack of association with Alzheimer's disease. Neurology, 59, 272274.
Galton, C.J., Patterson, K., Graham, K., Lambon-Ralph, M.A., Williams, G., Antoun, N., Sahakian, B.J., & Hodges, J.R. (2001). Differing patterns of temporal atrophy in Alzheimer's disease and semantic dementia. Neurology, 57, 216225.
Ge, Y., Grossman, R.I., Babb, J.S., Rabin, M.L., Mannon, L.J., & Kolson, D.L. (2002). Age-related total gray matter and white matter changes in normal adult brain. Part II: Quantitative magnetization transfer ratio histogram analysis. American Journal of Neuroradiology, 23, 13341341.
Geroldi, C., Laakso, M.P., DeCarli, C., Beltramello, A., Bianchetti, A., Soininen, H., Trabucchi, M., & Frisoni, G.B. (2000). Apolipoprotein E genotype and hippocampal asymmetry in Alzheimer's disease: A volumetric MRI study. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, 68, 9396.
Giedd, J.N., Snell, J.W., Lange, N., Rajapakse, J.C., Casey, B.J., Kozuch, P.L., Vaituzis, A.C., Vauss, Y.C., Hamburger, S.D., Kaysen, D., & Rapoport, J.L. (1996). Quantitative magnetic resonance imaging of human brain development: Ages 4–18. Cerebral Cortex, 6, 551560.
Gilmore, R.L., Childress, M.D., Leonard, C., Quisling, R., Roper, S., Eisenschenk, S., & Mahoney, M. (1995). Hippocampal volumetrics differentiate patients with temporal lobe epilepsy and extratemporal lobe epilepsy. Archives of Neurology, 52, 819824.
Gloor, P. (1997). The temporal lobe and limbic system. New York: Oxford University Press.
Harding, A.J., Stimson, E., Henderson, J.M., & Halliday, G.M. (2002). Clinical correlates of selective pathology in the amygdala of patients with Parkinson's disease. Brain, 125(Pt. 11), 24312445.
Hedges, L.V. & Olkin, I. (1985). Statistical methods for meta-analysis. Orlando, FL: Academic Press.
Hunter, J.E. & Schmidt, F.L. (1990). Methods of meta-analysis: Correcting error and bias in research findings. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.
Jack, C.R., Jr., Petersen, R.C., Xu, Y.C., O'Brien, P.C., Smith, G.E., Ivnik, R.J., Boeve, B.F., Waring, S.C., Tangalos, E.G., & Kokmen, E. (1999). Prediction of AD with MRI-based hippocampal volume in mild cognitive impairment. Neurology, 52, 13971403.
Jack, C.R., Jr., Petersen, R.C., Xu, Y.C., Waring, S.C., O'Brien, P.C., Tangalos, E.G., Smith, G.E., Ivnik, R.J., & Kokmen, E. (1997). Medial temporal atrophy on MRI in normal aging and very mild Alzheimer's disease. Neurology, 49, 786794.
Jack, C.R., Jr., Theodore, W.H., Cook, M., & McCarthy, G. (1995). MRI-based hippocampal volumetrics: Data acquisition, normal ranges, and optimal protocol. Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 13, 10571064.
Krasuski, J.S., Alexander, G.E., Horwitz, B., Daly, E.M., Murphy, D.G.M., Rapoport, S.I., & Schapiro, M.B. (1998). Volumes of medial temporal lobe structure in patients with Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment (and in healthy controls). Biological Psychiatry, 43, 6068.
Lawrie, S.M. & Abukmeil, S.S. (1998). Brain abnormality in schizophrenia: A systematic and quantitative review of volumetric magnetic resonance imaging studies. British Journal of Psychiatry, 172, 11020.
Luft, A.R., Skalej, M., Welte, D., Kolb, R., & Klose, U. (1998). Reliability and exactness of MRI-based volumetry: A phantom study. Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 6, 700704.
Murphy, G.M., Jr., Inger, P., Mark, K., Lin, J., Morrice, W., Gee, C., Gan, S., & Korp, B. (1987). Volumetric asymmetry in the human amygdaloid complex. Journal für Hirnforschung, 28, 281289.
Nelson, M.D., Saykin, A.J., Flashman, L.A., & Riordan, H.J. (1998). Hippocampal volume reduction in schizophrenia as assessed by magnetic resonance imaging. Archives of General Psychiatry, 55, 433440.
O'Brien, P.C. & Dyck, P.J. (1995). Procedures for setting normal values. Neurology, 45, 1723.
Orwin, R.G. (1983). A fail-safe N for effect size in meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Statistics, 8, 157159.
Petersen, R.C., Doody, R., Kurz, A., Mohs, R.C., Morris, J.C., Rabins, P.V., Ritchie, K., Rossor, M., Thal, L., & Winblad, B. (2001). Current concepts in mild cognitive impairment. Archives of Neurology, 58, 19851992.
Radhakrishnan, K., So, E.L., Silbert, P.L., Jack, C.R., Jr., Cascino, G.D., Sharbrough, F.W., & O'Brien, P.C. (1998). Predictors of outcome of anterior temporal lobectomy for intractable epilepsy: A multivariate study. Neurology, 51, 465471.
Rosenthal, R. (1991). Meta-analysis: A review. Psychosomatic Medicine, 53, 247271.
Rosenthal, R. & DiMatteo, M.R. (2001). Meta-analysis: Recent developments in quantitative methods for literature reviews. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 5982.
Salanova, V., Markand, O., & Worth, R. (1999). Longitudinal follow-up in 145 patients with medically refractory temporal lobe epilepsy treated surgically between 1984 and 1995. Epilepsia, 40, 14171423.
Shadish, W.R. & Haddock, C.K. (1994). Combining estimates of effect size. In H. Cooper & L.V. Hedges (Eds.), Handbook of research synthesis (pp. 261281). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Wang, L., Joshi, S.C., Miller, M.I., & Csernansky, J.G. (2001). Statistical analysis of hippocampal asymmetry in schizophrenia. Neuroimage, 14, 531545.
Watson, C., Jack, C.R., Jr., & Cendes, F. (1997b). Volumetric magnetic resonance imaging: Clinical applications and contributions to the understanding of temporal lobe epilepsy. Archives of Neurology, 54, 15211531.
Wright, I.C., Rabe-Hesketh, S., Woodruff, P.W.R., David, A.S., Murray, R.M., & Bullmore, E.T. (2000). Meta-analysis of regional brain volumes in schizophrenia. American Journal of Psychiatry, 157, 1625.


Asymmetry of the hippocampus and amygdala in MRI volumetric measurements of normal adults

  • OTTO PEDRAZA (a1) (a2), DAWN BOWERS (a1) (a2) and ROBIN GILMORE (a3)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed